Is It a Kidnapping if No One Died?


ML March 26, 2011

Is it a kidnapping if no one died?

Is it a kidnapping if I walked in, stupidly, and he pushed me the rest of the way?

Is it a kidnapping if when it was finally safe to leave, I had burned all my bridges and had nowhere else to go?

Is it a kidnapping if you go to Disneyworld with your kids? And to Busch Gardens? And to Sea World?

If you’ve been separated for a year and not slept together and he rapes you, does that mean the divorce is off because you had a sexual encounter?

If your heart is tugging at you, as you take in the scents of your children, and listen to their voices and want them so, and you know that you cannot leave, because he has trapped you, is it wrong to feel afraid and not yell?

Is it kidnapping if he’s already stolen your body and soul, heart and mind?

If he locks the door and blocks the way, and you really cannot get out,

do you have a choice?

And if he keeps you there week after week,

And if the police come and you don’t scream out,

And your brother drives up and you are restrained from calling out?

Is it a kidnapping?

Was it a crime? Yes, it was, and there was no justice and there was no resolution, and I still am hesitant to talk about it because at some level I still feel like a fool. I had let my hyper vigilant guard down for a few seconds, less than a minute, and it seemed that all the progress dissolved and the darkness enveloped me again and would not let go.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was about 7:30 on a dark winter evening, there in Northeast Connecticut. I pulled my car into the driveway in front of the house where he lived with our children, prepared to say goodnight to my beloved little ones after our Wednesday night supper visit. We were busy, talking excitedly, at the same time becoming a little quiet as the return to separate lives was imminent. Goodbye! Hello! When will I see you again?

I turned off the ignition and my heart thumped. My estranged husband in his Saab dream car pulled in behind me, with only a few inches to spare. “Been to the Laundromat. Help me get this stuff inside.” Without a thought, I dragged one of the duffel bags, leftover from the Air Force days, into the doorway. And before I could stop to think, he pushed me roughly into the open front entrance of the rented house, closed and locked the door behind me.

“I have to go.”

“No, you are staying!”

He took me into the spare bedroom, demanded that I hand him my shirt and slacks, and tossed me a robe, the robe which I had made for him back when I’d had hopes, velvet blue and deep red. It dawned on me that I was a hostage, perhaps. Phones were all unplugged. This was before cellphones. No computer – my technologically advanced guy was opposed to having one in the home. There was no point in yelling – scaring the children, and the house was far enough from the street that no one would hear – or even care.

I had my own apartment two miles away, and everything I owned was there. What had happened is my fault. I thought I had passed the point of danger. I did not have people to check on me. We’d been apart for almost exactly a year – should have realized that he, too, kept track of anniversaries, and would want what was his, no matter what. No, he would need to have the person he thought he owned – his wife, whom he’d turned from a shy, educated, intelligent girl into a voiceless woman with no one who really had any power to help her.

My family were fed up. Too many times, I had gone back – a victim of my own need to be near my children and to pray for a miracle. It was a broken record, until I finally saw the lawyer and filed the papers, and I waited upstairs with the kids as the sheriff served the paper and he made lengthy conversation with them about how a mistake had been made, then finally left and they left, and we pushed chairs against the doors, and I sat up all night waiting.

My role as the “different one” – the identified patient in a very dysfunctional family – was set in stone. I was accepted as the sick one, the depressed one, the one who picked the wrong guy and was stuck with him, with his over-inflated ego, the guy no one liked, but whom no one would confront.

After a full year of separation, several court appearances, a lawyer who was kind but influenced by big men who used big words to warn you to back off, we were no closer to our no-fault 90 day divorce than the night he was removed. He wanted to countersue for a legal annulment, which was his right as a citizen but which did not fit with our having born and raised three children.

The next day came and the children were on winter break so they were home from school. The week passed, very slowly, as he pulled me back into his bed, and I resorted to “mentally departing” during the unpleasantness, then dealing with yet another migraine. That’s when I started to think of myself as a polite time bomb – only implosion would be permitted, the ulcer, the migraines, the depression.

It sounds corny, perhaps, but I have to say it. I am an orphan. Yes, it’s true that my mother’s dementia is running its course, and she is in the final stages, graciously offered hospice care in the nursing home where she has resided/existed for the past seven and a half years.

In the past few days I have awakened to the reality that I have been an orphan for a long time. Mother was not there for me; father was definitely not there for me. There was no unconditional love, and no, I wasn’t especially needy or anything.


About @LatelaMary

Author of 14 self-help books, five still available: Prepare Him Room, Ten Steps to Peace, Healing the Abusive Family, Moments for Mothers. Breaking the Boxes: critique of institutions vs. individuals. Work-in-progress: Memoir (Sorting out Secrets)
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